#Shaken&Stirred: A Q&A With Bartender Cindy Lalramngaihzuali

In our ongoing series, #Shaken&Stirred, we speak to crafty mixologists who are in the contemporary cocktail revolution, asking them to spill the beans on their work, inspirations, and show you how to make cocktails at home

Bartender Cindy Lalramngaihzuali

Meet Cindy Lalramngaihzuali, 29 years old. She started her career in the F&B industry in 2015. After working in different departments, she got inspired after working behind the bar at Ek Bar in Delhi. Later, while doing a bartending course, she started working at Piso 16. After working for a month, she moved to Perch Wine and Coffee Bar, Delhi and takes care of Hoots' cocktail bar there.

What made you choose bartending as a profession?
The curiousity of the field, wanting to know every detail of the practice more, the self-confidence needed, plus the desire to put a smile on someone’s face with a delicious drink I created. Curiosity burdened me—when I saw something new being done in front of me, or if something new was brought in front of me to touch, smell, experiment with it. And it is still the same feeling even today. The day I got an opportunity to practise and learn and train to quench the curiousity, I grabbed on to it. And I don't want to let it go—I still find opportunities to train. I don't plan on stopping even in the future. Training allows me to give life to ideas and be more creative.

What do you like most about this job?
The vibe, the power it gives me to showcase my skills and what I have learnt through my mistakes. Every new day gives me an opportunity and hope to to be better than I am today. 

What are the challenges?
The challenge is always me. I am tough on myself because, with self-confidence also comes doubt at times. So I make bets with myself and challenge myself to dare to dream, and grow and learn all at once.

Which is your favourite cocktail, and why?
I don't have a particular favourite. But if I have to choose one, I'll go for a classic cocktail. Hanky Panky—a spirit forward cocktail with gin, vermouth and Fernet Branca. The combination of gin and vermouth and a drop of Fernet Branca gives it a certain freshness. This cocktail makes me feel like it represents me, and the name sounds fun.

Could you recommend a favourite book on cocktails?
I would go for Cocktail Codex: Fundamentals, Formulas, Evolutions by Alex Day, David Kaplan and Nick Fauchald. This book is easy to understand for both bartenders and lay people. And The PDT Cocktail Book: The Complete Bartender's Guide from the Celebrated Speakeasy by Chris Gall and Jim Meehan.

Could you share a cocktail recipe for our readers?
For home, keep it simple with just two or three ingredients, and use fresh ingredients like herbs/citrus.

  • Gin - 60 ml
  • Orange juice - 30 ml
  • Mint leaves - 4-5

Mix and top up with ginger ale.

One incident (funnier the better) that you can't forget while at work.
When someone complained that their Negroni was sour. It's funny, but you can't laugh in front of the guest. You have to resolve it.

What are your secret mixes that you reserve for very special occasions?
I do a home-made tepache.

What do you prefer drinking in order to unwind at home?
I like a simple gin-tonic or whisky/whisky-water.